Among trophy hunters, Elk remain one of the biggest prizes. This is because elk are naturally large and make for a great hunting target. There are two factors when it comes to hunting elk: the number of opportunities presented and the quality of the trophy in question.
When finding the best states in the union to do some elk hunting, there are ten that stand out above the rest. All including rifle hunting, bow hunting, guided hunts, or private/public hunts. These factor into the states on this list making it.
So, what are the ten best states to go and do some elk hunting?
There are many hunters who say that elk hunting is best in Colorado and the simple fact of the matter is that this is purely due to the numbers. Colorado has the largest herd in the country, nearing the almost 280,000 elk.
There are some hunters who feel that trophy elk are not so plentiful, but when most states are only allowing harvests that are in the hundreds, Colorado has several thousands of opportunities for hunters to grab a trophy elk. Not only that, over-the-counter licenses are also on the rise in Colorado, making it a tremendously popular site for hunting elk.
Utah is one of the quiet states in the union that does not get the credit it deserves for it’s beautiful scenery and trophy hunting. The world record for non-typical elk was actually taken in Utah back in 2008 on public grounds, showing hunters just what kind of prospects await them when they hunt in the state.
The fact that big elk are yielded on public ground in Utah makes it more attractive as well and many agree that they have some of the best public land hunting in the country, period.
Oregon has one of the largest elk populations in the country, ranging in the tens of thousands. While no one can compete with Colorado in terms of sheer size of the herd, Oregon stands out compared to other states in the union.
There have been many Crocket and Boone bulls that have been harvested in Oregon on a pretty regular basis. The big bulls combined with the large herd numbers make for a great reason to do some elk hunting in Oregon above most others in the United States.
Montana, for some reason, flies under the radar in terms of elk hunting states. This is despite the fact that there are over 163,000 elk to hunt in the state. But there are more opportunities that are becoming available for trophy elk hunts in Montana.
There are many hunters that say that the southwest portion of the state is one of the best in terms of the quality of elk that can be found for hunters. There is also a belief that there is a good mix of big bulls as well as the opportunities available for hunters. Montana continues to be an underrated hunting state.
While Idaho doesn’t have the most elk in their state – an estimated 107,000 elk – there is a ton of backcountry that can keep you preoccupied without ever firing your gun. There are 28 managed elk hunting zones throughout the state that are heavily forested and great for hunting elk.
Despite the heavy deforestation, the big bulls that show up on a regular basis make it a great spot for hunting and one of the more underrated elk hunting spots in the country. More and more hunters are finding out what a hidden gem that Idaho is.
There are a few factors that have kind of held back Washington state’s elk herds for years: mountain lions and forest fires. The numbers today are more on the upswing than they have been in recent years, especially in the Blue Mountain area of the state.
There are limited spikes for hunters in the state, but if you manage to get one of the rare “any” tags that are available, it is quite possible that you can nab a big bull. Bringing home a trophy elk from Washington can make for a unique hunting experience.
One of the biggest drawbacks that keeps New Mexico from being higher up on the list is that the draws are very limited. This means fewer opportunities to get those prized bulls that most hunters crave each time they take the hunt.
But the one thing that definitely elevates New Mexico is that they have a lot big bulls. So while your chances aren’t outstanding of getting a tag, if you do, you have a very good chance at nabbing the kind of big bull that will leave you with stories for years to come.
Wyoming already has the beautiful Rocky Mountains as its backdrop, giving it an advantage over many other states in the union. Not only that, the elk tend to traverse those mountains most of the time which means that each hunt is going to be an adventure, making the hunt appealing even without bagging a trophy bull.
There are plenty of elk in the lower mountain ranges as well as the plains, too, so you can have a pretty good opportunity at a bull elk in any of the scenes and settings.
Pennsylvania has an Elk County; how can it not be a great place for Elk hunting. There are huge herds available throughout the state and Pennsylvania is one of the best eastern states to do some big game elk hunting.
While it might not match up with some of the heavy hitters on the western side of the country. Pennsylvania makes for a fine elk hunting experience all on its own.
Meet the ultimate gamble state. Most hunters feel that Arizona is a “go big or go home” kind of state in that you can find some of the biggest bulls in the country throughout the state. Imagine bringing home one of those monsters?
The only downside is that tags are very difficult to come by, so your opportunities will be heavily limited especially with all of the competition that there is for tags.